‘You are swallowed into a swirling whirlpool of laid-back musical gorgeousness’
Background to HËXĖ
To say that London-based electronic music duo HËXĖ (featuring the female vocals of Lex Stowe and the production/male vocals of Callum Raab) are still emerging would be a huge understatement. However, having been signed to Olympia Records, and produced tracks that show unity and variety in equal amounts, it is no wonder that they have an ever-increasing following. Read on to find out why you should be following them too.
Released in June, HËXĖ’s debut track ‘Words’ is an immediately captivating listen with dreamlike bell tones, reverberating synth patterns and smooth, honest sounding vocals from Lex. You can’t help but be impressed within the first few seconds. This introduction is also the perfect lead in to the contrasting sound of the more mainstream electro-pop sounding chorus.
As the track progresses, it becomes clear that the main focus is firmly on the development of the lyrics, or should that be ‘Words’? The development of these however, doesn’t always lie in the wording but their use and through numerous applications of echo, distortion and pitch alteration as well as heavily processed male vocals, the mostly similar lyrics are given a greater emphasis each time they are heard. Equally, the stripping back of ideas in the final third of the track allows the ‘Words’ to take even more prominence.
However, the really clever thing about this track is how it ‘feels’ when you hear it as due to the way the track develops, it can be experienced as a subtle dance-like track or one that swallows you into a swirling whirlpool of laid-back musical gorgeousness. Personally, I favour the latter.
In stark contrast to the opening, and indeed the ending of ‘Words’, HËXĖ’s second and most recent track, ‘Edge’ is set unapologetically as a dance music track. Take the first few seconds as a perfect example of this. The wah-wah type sound applied to the synth makes for a surprising departure from the relaxed nature heard previously. However, combine this with the distinctive drum beat, which starts early on, and it becomes clear the direction it’s heading is very different.
Due to this departure, I wasn’t a huge fan on a first listen as it seemed so far away from their initial release. However, listening a few more times, and noticing the similar techniques applied to both tracks – which by no coincidence are the best ones – it has turned into an equally great track and one that seems to be over too quickly.
There’s no doubt about it, HËXĖ are definitely standing on the edge of becoming very popular.